Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion pop, lock, flip hip-hop on new bop

Rating: 5/5 stars

Historically, the music genre of rap has been dominated by men, with early influential figures being Dr. Dre (“The Chronic”), Tupac Shakur (“All Eyez On Me”, The Notorious B.I.G. (“Ready to Die”) and many more. However, the modern rap industry has seen the prevalence of various female artists, spanning from the “Queen of Rap” Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, also known as Nicki Minaj (“Pink Friday”), to the college-educated Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, also known by her stage name Megan Thee Stallion (“Something for Thee Hotties”). The latter, in collaboration with Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar Cephus, also known as Cardi B (“Invasion of Privacy”), have recently released yet another duet titled “Bongos,” which closely parallels–and if not exceeds–the level of promiscuity and eye-popping visuals their hit 2020 song “WAP” offered. With the infusion of Latin beats and both artists’ talented wordplay, “Bongos” is a culmination of energetic, clear-cut and incredibly provocative lyrics, pulsating beats, and a captivating video that is by no means safe for work. 

Current rap within the United States is, for the most part, recognized as a sector of music that dives into the world of drug use, violence and ill-gotten gains; “Glock In My Lap” by 21 Savage (“Her Loss”) is a prime example of what to expect from a renowned male rap artist. Yet Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion essentially flipped the script with their latest work. They seemingly dedicate an almost three-minute-long song to their overtly sexual nature and innate fantasies. 

The song, at surface level, appears to be nothing more than a compilation of near-naked women showing off their perfect physiques while simultaneously noting off every intimate detail they wish to share with an expendable partner, creating a noticeable dichotomy between the themes of male and female rap. However, it is critical to acknowledge that Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have amplified sexuality to an unfathomable degree on “Bongos” for a reason: the far cry from traditional lady-like manners is meant to be an act of defiance from the stereotypical idea of what a woman is supposed to act like.

 In a 2018 Billboard interview sporting the title “Anything a Man Can Do, I Can Do,” Cardi B states, “Some people are smart but they don’t have no common sense. They think feminism is great and only a woman that can speak properly, that has a degree, who is a boss, a businessperson… They think only Michelle Obama can be a feminist.” 

Following the same mentality in her 2020 New York Times article “Why I Speak Up for Black Women,” Megan Thee Stallion writes, “When women choose to capitalize on our sexuality, to reclaim our own power, like I have, we are vilified and disrespected.” Thus, while it is easy to be distracted by the evocative imagery and lyrics in “Bongos” (just as “WAP” did years ago), Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have reunited to create a another coalition for female empowerment, focusing on the uplifting of the readily-marginalized demographic of Black women specifically.  

“Bongos” is a perfectly layered song: dirty and sexually suggestive on the outside, yet profound and surprisingly meaningful beneath the flawless figures of two renowned and controversial artists. While some form of communal outcry is to be expected due to the overall raunchiness of their song, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion were unswayed by the public’s initial reaction to “WAP” more than three years ago, and it very clearly did not stop the sex-positive duo from collabing once more in the name of female advancement.

Image from Cardi B via YouTube

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